On Invitation

Gourmet Express - Kashmiri Food Festival at Lalit Ashok

Tuesday, August 05, 2014Me! In words

What Bangalore City lacks right now is a Kashmiri Restaurant. There was one a while ago which was brilliant when it started, but the effort and finance needed to maintain a Wazwan and get quality meat (which is frankly the essence of great Kashmiri food) was too much and it quickly shut down. From then, we have had to satisfy ourselves with the occasional Kashmiri food festival that come to the city. 

For all of you who are longing for some Kashmiri food, Gourmet Express at the Lalit Ashok is now having a Kashmiri Festival which will be on till the 10th of August. All of the classics find its way to the menu. We were invited to give the fare a shot and we came away a satisfied family. The menu aims to please all those Kashmiri desires. 

We began with the Kahwa - fragrant, steeped in dry fruits and an absolute delight on the chilly evening outdoors

Kokor Kanti with Doon Chetin - This chicken is a traditional appetizer of boneless, marinated chicken, which is then tossed in a tomato based dry sauce. What stole the show with this dish is the Doon Chetin or the walnut and hung curd chutney. The smoothness and thickness of the hung curd was accentuated beautifully by the nuttiness of the walnut. I sneaked several bites of the chutney.

A mushroom preparation. I believe the base for this was a curd marinade. These whole button mushrooms were exquisite and one of those that could easily make a meal and then some more of. 

Tabakh Maaz - These deep fried mutton ribs were sinfully savory. All we needed was a butter knife to tease away the meat from the bones. A few minutes in the mouth to savor every flavor and down it goes to a feeling of complete satisfaction. 

This silky smooth potato mash with toasted garlic took us all the way back to our Manipal days where one tiny little shack used to make mashed potatoes this way. Piling on the carbs is always a pleasure with a dish like this

Haakh Chaman - Palak Paneer Kashmiri style

Goshtaba - my pick of the evening. Pounded mutton balls in a yogurt based gravy finished off with Kasuri Methi... you honestly don't need anything to go with this. Of course it has a layer of fat that contributes to its superlative taste, but then what's a little indulgence of the savory kind once in a while. 

Maaz Pulao - a rice dish that is cooked in mutton stock and has a sprinkling of dry fruits in it.

Badam Korma - an almond based chicken gravy, with a distinct taste of Kashmiri chilli

Kong Phirni (Saffron Phirni) - creamy phirni made spoon-licking worthy with quality saffron. 

You can't really go wrong with this festival. The Chef heads out each morning at the crack of dawn to get the quality and cut of meat he prefers. Only then do the preparations for the day begin. If you do get a chance, do ask him about his life - a real rags to riches story, that is inspirational to say the least. The buffet meal here Rs 1195 + taxes per head. This festival is on till the 10th of August.

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